By Claire Ottaviano
FOR three decades of tireless voluntary service to Midland youth and the wider community, Swan View’s Trevor Knuckey was recognised with an Order of Australia medal last month.
After hearing children came to school hungry, Mr Knuckey set up a breakfast club and founded the not-for-profit Medjugorje Centre to improve the education, health and wellbeing of under-privileged students and other charitable works beneficial to the community.
From helping to set up a footy boots rewards program to creating reading, music and after school programs, breakfast and social clubs and even buying a bus to transport students to and from school, the retiree is never idle.
“Last year when COVID-19 hit I had about 24 volunteers working in all sorts of programs, some sitting with kids one-on-one reading, the breakfast club, social afternoon club, then after school I ran them home in my bus,” he said.
“There’s no public bus stop at the school, parents have to walk their children 1km from the nearest public bus stop to the school.”
Mr Knuckey’s dedication to service came later in life after a trip to the Catholic pilgrimage site of Medjugorje, a village in Bosnia, in 1990.
“30 years ago I went to a place called Medjugorje and had two very profound spiritual experiences there and since then I’ve known that I’ve got to help people,” he said.
“That’s what made me do what I do, when I came back I joined St Vincent de Paul.
“I have to help everyone, doesn’t matter about gender or race, we’re all brothers and sisters.”
Mr Knuckey recently published a book about his life growing up in Geraldton as the middle of five children, his struggles with his mother’s mental illness, his experience at Medjugorje and the work he has done since.
“It’s taken me a few months to recognise how important being awarded with an OAM is,” he said.
“I’m happy doing what I am doing, it can be stressful, helping people isn’t always easy but you’ve got to keep going.
“I’m only interested in going forward never back, in the next ten years if, god willing, I live that long, I’ll be going forward and taking new challenges.”
Well-known Midland identity and cricket player Kevin Gartrell also received an OAM on Australia Day for his service to cricket.
Echo News congratulates all of our local OAM recipients.